Somehow, contrary to the Constitution, which protects the rights of the individual, everywhere you look nowadays there is someone or some group telling us what and what not to do.

Somewhere along the way we have forgotten – if we ever even knew – that we are granted, as individuals, the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

The Bill of Rights was drafted by James Madison, one of the men of courage and vision who set the foundation for the future. The Bill of Rights was inspired, to some extent, by the Virginia Resolves, created a year earlier. One of the most important things the Resolves accomplished was proving the 13 colonies could work together as well as giving impetus to the remarkable Bill of Rights.

Throughout our history the Bill of Rights has been the undeniable protection of the rights of the individual. No one has ever made that clearer than Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. He said, “… “America was founded on the philosophy of individual rights, not group rights.”

One of the big mistakes we Americans make today is a simple thing. It’s amazing, though, how many never realize it or just don’t care. We focus so intensely on our own concerns and rights but while doing so we sometimes violate the rights of others. We ignore the fact that the rights are for every American, not our personal possessions.

Whatever led to this phenomenon is debatable. Regardless, it should convince Americans to review their behavior and realize what is happening in the country and why. This “mine, not yours” effort is worrisome, of course, but there is another assault on something much more important. That is a scary attack on the very liberty that allows all Americans to freely engage in the quest for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Politicians, especially in this political season, are trying to emasculate the Constitution. Many of those politicians want to take away freedoms that have served us well through the ages – for all Americans, but particularly the individual. Our rights under the Constitution are at stake. The culprits include some elected officials and others seeking office.

Think of something Abraham Lincoln said. “Don’t interfere with anything in the Constitution. That must be maintained, for it is the only safeguard of our liberties.”

Those who advocate so many government giveaways are obvious. They preach their socialistic promises every day. Call them threats. Not only do they pander to freeloading American citizens, they want to subsidize illegal immigrants with everything from free medical care to education, and on and on. That is happening already to a certain extent.

One of the major losses would be the Second Amendment to the Constitution that gives Americans the right to keep and bear arms. It was put there to make sure the people could resist government tyranny. What’s going on in this nation is a clear indication why the Second Amendment is integral to the law of the land. Some politicians want to take guns from the people.

Now, consider a couple of things George Washington advised. First, “The future of this nation depends on the Christian training of our youth.” Is that being done? Second, “Firearms stand next in importance to the Constitution.” That is, or should be, untouchable.

If socialists had their way, they would change much more of how the Founding Fathers’ visions and wisdom created such a viable and timeless guide for justice, freedom and an environment conducive to productivity and life in general.

Those who want such change are bad enough. The fact they have voter support is tragic.

Collins lives in Greenwood and is retired from the Index-Journal where he served in several capacities, to include as the paper’s executive editorial editor.